Upgrading Cisco Nexus Switches via USB Port

Note: This is another guest post by Muhammad Awais Butt, CCIE# 51557 & CISSP.

In case you have any queries or would like to connect with Awais, you can drop him a message on his LinkedIn, Muhammad Awais Butt.

Upgrading Cisco Nexus Switches via USB Port

PROBLEM STATEMENT : Recent Cisco Nexus software images are huge (around 01 to 02 Gig) in size and uploading them to a switch via FTP/ TFTP/ SCP may even consume 05 to 08 hours and if this delay was not factored in your activity maintenance window, you may have to reschedule the activity.

SOLUTION : Uploading Cisco software image through USB port of a switch is the fastest option of all and it will reduce the upload time from hours to 5 ~ 10 minutes.

In this example, I will be referring to Cisco Nexus 3548-XL model and below are the steps you need to perform for such an upgrade.

  • One common issue you will face while uploading your image via USB port is that your switch will fail to mount the USB drive regardless of whatever formatting choice you use for your USB. The easiest way to get over this problem is by formatting USB through the switch itself by using the below command.
Depending on your Switch, you may see multiple USB ports so format the one on which you connected the USB
  • Once your USB is formatted and detected by the switch, rest of the steps are fairly simple.

    You just have to copy the desired image from USB drive to Switch flash/Bootflash by using the following command. For me, I uploaded 1.8 Gig file to switch within 05 minutes.
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  • After copying the image to your switch, the most important and often forgotten step is to verify the checksum of image, which should match with the checksum value provided by Cisco website itself.

    This step is to make sure that the integrity of the software image is intact and there is no corruption during download.
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  • After verifying MD5 checksum, we need to check the impact of new software image before installing it. If all outputs are successful, we will then install the software image which will be disruptive and require a reload

    Below commands are used to achieve these steps.
  1. show install all impact nxos nxos.your_image.bin – Checking the impact of new release
  2. install all nxos bootflash:nxos.your_image.bin — Installing the new image on your switch.

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Muhammad Awais Butt

Network and Security Engineer, CISSP & CCIE# 51557 (DC)
Muhammad Awais Butt is a highly qualified Network and Security professional who possesses CCIE DC (CCIE# 51557) and CISSP along with several other network and security certifications. He likes to share his knowledge and experience with people working in the IT sector or pursuing a career in this field. In case of any questions or feedback, please feel free to drop a comment below or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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